If you are traveling with children, you know that finding activities that appeal to everyone is far from easy. In the museums and historic sites you love to discover, children get bored quickly. They prefer the great outdoors where they can run and play! But have you crossed the Atlantic to do what you could have done at home? Good news, the American capital offers you both: historic sites in abundance, in the middle of a large public park near the White House. Visiting Washington with children will reconcile young and old. Your biggest challenge will be deciding what to do in Washington. To help you, here is a list of some places to visit with family, to spend an unforgettable moment.
What to visit with your children in Washington?
A good place to start a visit to Washington with children is the National Mall, a large park open to the public. With a view of the Capitol building – the equivalent of the National Assembly in Paris – and the obelisk in memory of George Washington, your family will feel the energy of the capital. Between all the memorials, the children will have plenty of time to stretch their legs, and even cool off in the fountains of the site dedicated to the Second World War.
If you have book lovers in your group, the Library of Congress should be your next stop. It is richly decorated and the guided tour is free. The gift shop is a must for readers!
Let your kids stretch their legs!
After a morning of visits, your children will be ready to eat. Take a lunch break in the Capitol building food court or in the cafeteria of one of the museums. We highly recommend that of the Museum of the American Indians whose choice will leave you speechless. More original, let yourself be surprised by the “food trucks”. Typically American, these small catering vans are parked in the Mall, at the 7th and 14th level. And their culinary offer covers the whole planet. You can then picnic on a bench, or even lie down for a little moment of relaxation. Kids will love the classic burgers and hot dogs. You can also be more curious, and dare Mexican or Asian specialities. In the afternoon, explore one of the Smithsonian’s free museums. The most popular museums for children are the American History Museum, which displays, among other things, Batman’s car. The Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum are also big favorites.
What to do in Washington to support the children while being interested in the local culture? Explore the memorials and other monuments that Hollywood has immortalized in hundreds of films.
You will have the best view of the White House from the base of the Washington Monument. Feel free to take the elevator to the top of the obelisk to photograph a view of the city. Each day, a limited number of tickets are available for access to the monument, but reservations can be made online. Watch their website: the site, closed for renovation since 2016, is due to reopen in August 2019.
Then spend the afternoon at the International Spy Museum. This world-class museum will entertain adults and children of all ages. Give yourself at least a few hours to enjoy it.
Weather permitting and you prefer to visit a few other Smithsonian museums, you can spend the morning at the park’s museums and admire the monuments at night. The monuments are less frequented in the evening and, during the night, pretty white lights highlight them well.
To not miss anything of the most beautiful sites, do not hesitate to take a guided tour.
If you are traveling with children, spend the last day at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s private residence. Gentleman of Virginia before becoming the first President of the United States, he cherished his property and spent the last years of his life there. The guided tour of the house is brief, therefore ideal for children. They will also enjoy visiting the working farm, the animals and the gardens. The slave district is moving and the view of the Potomac, the nearby river, is refreshing.
Bonus: Visiting Washington with kids is all the more fantastic since all of the National Mall museums are free. You can enter and stay there as long as you want, at no cost! Admission to the United States Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Museums are also free. There is just a small charge for the elevator at the Washington Monument.
The proximity of the large green spaces of the National Mall will allow you to combine culture for the older ones and games for the younger ones. Visiting Washington DC with your kids is a great way to learn while having fun!